Sort of Books is an independent publishing venture by Mark Ellingham and Natania Jansz, founders of the Rough Guide travel series. We set the company up in 1999 mainly to help our friend Chris Stewart launch his debut book, Driving Over Lemons, which became a surprise UK bestseller (eventually selling more than a million copies). Fired by its success, we have hand-picked two or three titles each year since. These have included four further Chris Stewart titles, the most recent of which, The Last Days of the Bus Club, is a laugh-out-loud sequel to the Lemons trilogy, and the remarkable fiction that Moomins creator Tove Jansson wrote for grown-ups, most notably The Summer Book, which has sold 100,000 copies since we re-launched it in 2003.
We have recently turned to contemporary fiction and are proud to have published novels by Jonathan Buckley, Simon Lewis, Tom Bullough and Sophie Hannah. Alongside them, we have reissued a select number of neglected classics, including The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig, the 1920s hotel book that inspired Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, and one of the great wartime books, There’s No Home by Alexander Baron.
We have also published popular science, notably Robert Kunzig’s Mapping the Deep, telling the extraordinary story of oceanography, which won the Aventis Science Book of the Year award, and in Kathleen Jamie we can lay claim to arguably Britain’s finest nature writer. Her latest book, Sightlines, published in 2012, a follow-up to the acclaimed Findings has been awarded both the prestigious John Burroughs Medal and the Orion Award.
Our association with Tove Jansson, in addition to publishing her novels, has resulted in our creating new editions, with verse adapted by Sophie Hannah, of her three large format illustrated Moomins books. In 2012 we launched the first ever UK publication of Jansson’s original Moomins book, The Moomins and the Great Flood.
Finally, we are delighted to keep in print Peter Blegvad’s unique Leviathan – a genre-defying comic strip collection of wordplay, puns and ideas. We love this book and owe Peter a debt, having called our company Sort Of after the first record he made with his band, Slapp Happy. Which you can hear here.
Sort Of Books are edited by Natania Jansz and Mark Ellingham, supported by two outstanding designers – Peter Dyer (covers) and Henry Iles (text).
In short, we publish the sort of books we like.
SORT OF BOOKS are represented by Profile Books and the Independent Alliance/Faber. Our foreign rights are handled by Andrew Nurnberg Associates and our American rights by George Lucas at Inkwell Management.